Calls for the Alyth Burn to be dredged in the wake of last month’s floods appear to have hit an obstacle after both the Scottish Enironment Protection Agency (Sepa) and Perth and Kinross Council refused to take responsibility for the work.
Council workers have began to remove debris from the burn but the local authority insists the waterway is not being dredged despite calls from locals.
Residents in the Perthshire town hoped the work was a sign of the burn being dredged after nearby properties were flooded for the second time in five years during the storms on August 12.
Businessman Arnold White demanded work be carried out after his workshop was hit with £8,000 – £10,000 worth of damage. He suffered a similar fate in 2015.
He said: “I’m 56 and when we were kids they dredged the river and we never had flooding.”
Despite the pleas, Sepa and Perth and Kinross Council have both said the other is responsible. It has also been suggested that dredging may actually increase the risk of flooding in future.
A spokesperson for the local authority said: “The unprecedented rainfall washed a considerable amount of natural debris down the Alyth Burn and this is being removed to return the watercourse to its pre-flood condition.
“Dredging of watercourses is regulated by Sepa and is not something carried out routinely by councils or landowners.
“There is evidence that indiscriminate dredging can cause environmental damage, de-stabilise river environments and can actually increase flood risk.
“The modern approach to river management is therefore to work with nature to reduce the risk of flooding.”
Sepa said the agency was aware of the flooding events in recent years and the impacts on the local community but believed it was for the council to instigate dredging works.
A spokesperson for the organisation said: “Any works undertaken on the Alyth Burn within the confines of the town would fall to the local authority to instigate and undertake.
“Dredging of the Alyth Burn was raised after flooding in July 2015 and Sepa highlighted that dredging may not necessarily work due to the presence of weirs, but that more localised removal of sediments may be deemed beneficial.
“We would encourage early dialogue with any party wishing to undertake any works in a watercourse so that advice and guidance can be given.”
Perth and Kinross Council has been holding a series of online community meetings to discuss the floods and will hold one for Alyth residents on October 1 at 6.30pm.